Gordon Brown’s government this week published the long-awaited white paper offering a solution for care for the elderly in England called the National Care Service.

Patterned after the existing National Health Service, the paper ‘calls for bold reform’ in response to the daunting demographics facing the country.

And it is not without controversy.  The Guardian feels that it contains ‘a lot of noise but little substance’.  Labour’s Lord Lipsey blasts the concept in The Times, saying that the proposal ‘manages to introduce brand new unfairness, and to take unaffordability to unimagined heights while at the same time doing nothing to plug the gaps in the present provision of care.’

The National Care Forum, IAHSA’s chapter in England, has issued a white paper of its own.  CEO Des Kelly says in his statement: ‘ There is plenty in the White Paper that needs further debate and some significant detail yet to be determined. There are however some useful pointers to joining up social care, health and housing and the way in which free care at home will (in time) be extended to personal care in care home settings. There is a helpful recognition of the contribution of carers, proposals for a quality framework and ideas for developing workforce regulation. Building a National Care Service represents an important step to a system of care which is personalised in ways that ensure greater control, choice and independence for people receiving services. We look forward to working with the DH and other key stakeholders in the sector to maintain the momentum for necessary reform.’

As IAHSA chapters around the world know, when the government gives you lemons, you must try to make lemonade…  Please share your experiences and thoughts.